Amoeblog

Still Crazy After All These Years: Gary Higgins & Mark Fosson

Posted by Miss Ess, May 3, 2007 09:15pm | Post a Comment

Speaking of radical upcoming shows, did you know that underground heroes Gary Higgins and Mark Fosson are coming to town for their first San Francisco appearances, despite the fact that their records were made oh, about 30+ years ago?  Yes, they have been revived, thanks in part to the vigilant Zach Cowie in the case of Gary Higgins, and thanks to Mark Fosson's cousin Tiffany Anders in his case, each of whom rediscovered the records that never got their due: Mark Fosson's Lost Takoma Sessions and Gary Higgins' Red Hash, and managed to get them released on the illustrious Drag City Records


Mark Fosson's songs were recorded for John Fahey's label in 1977 but were actually never released cause the label dissolved soon after.  It's super fitting that Fosson's record was gonna come out on Fahey's label cause he's a definite influence.  He plays the 12 string guitar and his songs are all instrumentals and beautiful! 

Gary Higgins' story is a little more complicated.  In 1973 he recorded his album Red Hash, put it out on his own label, promptly got arrested for pot possession and spent a couple of years in the pen; Thus he was unable to tour or promote the record, and thus the record made pretty much no mark on the world at large.  True to its title, Red Hash is definately a stoner folk record.  There's much hypnotic repetition, lots of hippie-isms and a lotta acoustic guitar hooks. 

So all this said, its pretty effin' great that the two of them are out on the road again performing to new audiences that have recently discovered songs the artists probably conceived before they were even born.  We here in Cali, the young and the old(er), will have several chances to check them out live at last, and they are even playing together in Santa Cruz:

Gary Higgins

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An American Prayer

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 3, 2007 12:43pm | Post a Comment
The other day I saw the legendary keyboardist from The Doors, Ray Manzarek, shopping at Amoeba. Seeing him brought back a flood of memories of hanging out with my stoner friends during my high school years that absolutely worshiped The Doors. They bought into the whole "Jim Morrison’s mystique" and his “Lizard King” persona. Personally, other than a few songs, I was never really into them. The record we would listen to over and over again was the posthumous An American Prayer.

American Prayer was released in 1978, a record that combined spoken word that Jim Morrison recorded in 1970 with music that the remaining members of The Doors created in 1977. It was a possible glimpse of what The Doors would have sounded like if they stuck around that long. I remember hating it. For one, it didn’t have any of songs I liked and two, I never liked Jim Morrison’s poetry. There were even a few Discoesque tracks on the album. It seemed like all the rock artists at the time were trying to play disco back then: David Bowie, The Doobie Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, all had Disco hits on the radio. For most Blacks and Latinos in the 70's/early 80's, it was our first tastes of those classic rockers because they were playing music we familiar with.
A few years back I heard L.A. DJ Garth Trinidad spin “Ghost Song” at a club. It fit perfect with other R&B tinged house tracks he was playing that night. I few days later I was at a record shop in St. Paul, Minnesota, and found a copy of American Prayer for 99 cents. After a few listens it occurred to me that American Prayer was way ahead of its time. It was an updated version of the Beat poetry records that came out in the 50’s at a time when no one was doing anything like this. Most of Jim Morrison’s poetry on this album is dated but set with the semi-funky beats the poems come off as modern club tracks.
There are a few cuts from this album I love to spin at clubs. “Ghost Song” and “The Hitchhiker” always get reactions from people. “Who does this song?” they ask me. When I tell them it’s The Doors, they then ask me, “Who did the re-mix?” My favorite track to spin is “Latino Chrome.” I always pull it out when I’m spinning the Chicano old school jams. It a perfect fit with classic El Chicano or Timmy Thomas style jams.
I feel like many musicians must have had the same experience as myself of being stuck in a room with idol-worshipping stoners listening to that album. Yet something about American Prayer left a lasting impression on the music that we would all create later. On the track “Dawn’s Highway” Jim Morrison talks about seeing...
“Indians scattered on dawn's highway bleeding,” and how the souls of the dead Native Americans penetrated his...“Young child's fragile eggshell mind.”
Whether I like to admit it or not, I guess American Prayer left a little Doors influence on my own “young fragile eggshell mind.”

(In which Job kills the radio star.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 2, 2007 06:44pm | Post a Comment
I spent the best and most embarrassing years of my life in the Pacific Northwest, specifically, a tiny Gold Rush town called Nevada City (located in the state of California – don’t make a fool of yourself at the next cocktail party, acting like you’re all hip to the Nevada City scene, then make the common mistake of assuming it’s in Nevada).

The population is less than 3,000 people. About 2,500 of those people are young folks, and 2,000 of them are musicians, but only about 1,580 of those musicians are geniuses.

Sure, I’m bragging. But I’m not exaggerating. I promise on my eight inch rod.

…of yarn. I knit. Why, what did you think I meant?

Anyway, dirty bird, it behooves me to introduce one particular singer/songwriter that is, how you say, rad. His name is Adam Kline, and his band is Golden Shoulders. And here is the video for one of his songs, off his album “Let My Burden Be”. But don’t stop here, enjoy his other recordings, too.

You rabid Joanna Newsom fans will get particular joy in the backing vocals. Aw, yeah.


 
 

Free Elvis Costello Show! Tomorrow @ Village Music in Mill Valley

Posted by Miss Ess, May 2, 2007 06:17pm | Post a Comment
Just wanted to let all y'all know that the one and only Elvis Costello is playing a FREE show tomorrow at Village Music in Mill Valley.  He's actually going to be playing songs from his favorite records he has found at Village over the years.  It should be a really special event and the perfect excuse to ditch work, right?

 

and then there's MAUDE...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 2, 2007 01:51pm | Post a Comment
Finally, the Bea Arthur fans can rejoice. Maude season one is now on DVD! After the release of all seven seasons of the Golden Girls, Bea Arthur's previous show "Maude" has finally been released. Maude originally aired from 1972-1978. Bea Arthur's character "Maude Findlay" was originally seen on "All in the Family" as Edith Bunker's cousin. Maude became a very successful spinoff for its creator Norman Lear. The show is set in Tuckahoe, New York. The show is about the liberal minded Maude and her fourth husband, Bill Macy, and grown up daughter, Adrienne Barbeau. The show also starred Esther Role as the housekeeper who would spin off onto her own show, "Good Times." Conrad Bain, the rich dad from Diff'rent Strokes, played the neighbor. And Bea's future costar of "The Golden Girls," Rue McClanahan, was also on the show!  The fantastic Adrienne Barbeau would go on to star in John Carpenter's "The Fog" and "Escape From New York," and Wes Craven's "Swamp Thing." Adrienne actually got her start in musicals and was the original "Rizzo" in Grease. She actually has recorded an album as well!

I was actually first introduced to Bea Arthur on the Golden Girls. It was only years later that I learned she had a previous hit show. I had only seen a couple of the episodes before I bought this DVD. The DVD includes all the original 22 episodes from the first season. All with the brilliant theme song by Donny Hathaway "And Then There's Maude." Unfortunately there is no bonus material on this DVD. It is a shame. No commentaries, no bloopers, no documentaries or behind the scenes footage. There is not even music playing in the menu screen. I could for sure watch some episodes in spanish or french, but not on this DVD. But it is still worth it.

The show was revolutionary and Bea Arthur is hilarious. The show tackled some crazy issues for the times. Not only was it critically acclaimed and won emmys and golden globes but the viewing audience also loved it. It was often in the top ten spot. Bea Arthur has a powerful presence on screen. She has an amazing ability for delivering those great lines with sarcastic wit. This season includes the great two part episode when Maude must consider getting an abortion. It also include the episode where Maude's daughter, Carol, dates a man that Maude once dated! Seriously, this is a great show. It is for sure worth revisiting even with a very bare DVD set.


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